Thursday, April 30, 2009

Alyssa Milano, meet Laura

Welcome to Service – The Action Form of Love

I’d like to share a success story. Admittedly, it’s an old story, but sometimes a story needs to “age” in order to appreciate its full value.

18 years ago, a baby was born to a Utah couple. Even before birth, there were indications that things were not going well. There were complications. The baby had somehow developed a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

When little Laura was born, the staff at the hospital advised her parents to take her home and love her as much as they could, because her life-expectancy was days or weeks, rather than years.

Laura’s parents did take her home, but they took her home to live, not to die.

They moved to California to be near Loma Linda University Hospital, who was then pioneering infant heart transplants. Maybe you’ve heard about this – it was in the news in the late 1980’s.

They got Laura on a waiting list, and within weeks, they were told to rush to the hospital – a donor heart had been secured. In short order, Laura had someone else’s gently used heart beating inside her tiny chest.

Day after day, mom and dad and the hospital staff monitored little Laura, watching for signs that her immune system was rejecting its new resident heart. Day after day, they prayed, worried and wondered if the next news story about a baby dying after transplant would feature Laura as the casualty.

Laura’s grandmother recorded several instances in her journal of scares the family had. Nobody really knew whether these oft occurring incidents meant the end, or even the beginning of the end.

Laura is now a healthy high-school graduate, looking forward to college, marriage and life. So, this is a success story for her, to be sure, but it’s also a success story of a system put in place to help people, babies and adults, like Laura.

This is also a success story of organ donation.

Without a family’s willingness, even at a very painful time of their own child’s death, to allow doctors to harvest organs, Laura would certainly have died before she emerged from toddlerhood.

Are you an organ donor?

I am.

Your neighbor is.

Your coworker is.

Even celebrities realize the importance of organ donation.

Alyssa Milano revealed that she is an organ donor as well as a bone-marrow donor. Though she hasn’t been asked to donate her bone marrow, and, obviously no other organs, the point is, she’s willing.

This is the young lady who involves her fans on twitter (and perhaps other social media) and is very open about her willingness to help out. In fact, just today, she was instrumental in trying to help find a home for a pet that faced imminent euthanasia. Turns out she’s a kind soul who is a great model for serving others. Kudos to her and the fans who help her serve.

So, here’s your challenge today. I’m not going to ask you to run out and sign up to be an organ donor. But, I am going to ask you to seriously consider it. Talk it over with your family. Discuss the ramifications. Make sure they understand your wishes. Ask more than one family member or close friend to speak up for you when it’s your time to put off this mortal coil. Put your wishes in writing. Don’t make your family second-guess their decision when the time comes. The decision has to be made quickly, and there may not be time for discussion.

There it is. One more small and simple way to serve others – that has a huge payoff to the recipient of your selflessness.

Thank you for reading and accepting today’s challenge. I know this is a really tough decision for some to make. Think it over, and then make your decision.

(In the interest of full disclosure, Alyssa Milano does not sponsor nor endorse my blog - and Laura is related to me)

Please feel free to share this with anyone you like. You may email it, forward it, post it, tweet it, stumble and digg it. Together we’re getting out the word that…

Service is The Action Form of Love


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Easy as 1-2-3

Welcome to Service is The Action Form of Love Blog

If you’ve read my past postings (see below and to your right for the links), you know that the kind of service I advocate is small and simple. A small and simple act of service (or random act of kindness, if you will) can make a big impact in someone’s day and life.
So, today, I want to just highlight three things you can do to serve today.


Here’s your challenge (see if you can do all three, but don’t feel bad if you can’t):

1. Offer to let someone vent to you. Don’t try to solve it, just listen with empathy.

2. Call someone in your family or circle of friends and say “I love you”.

3. Send an email or written note that just says “Thank you”.

That’s all there is to it!

I know you can do it. How do I know? Because I know you care.

Thanks for reading today’s post. Thanks for being willing to accept the challenge and to pass it on. Thanks for being you!

And, thanks for remembering that Service is The Action Form of Love.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reminder - Service Saturday Approaches

Welcome back to Service – The Action Form of Love

Just a reminder that our next Service Saturday is coming up on May 9th.

Remember also that service should be done without self-promotion (leave your business cards in your wallet, purse or car), and that you can find small and simple but meaningful ways to serve.

Open doors.


Mow someone’s lawn.

Pick up trash at the beach.

Help a neighbor with groceries.

You get the idea.

Thanks so much for reading! Feel free to pass it on, and remember…

Service is the Action Form of Love


Don't Turn Away

Welcome to Service – The Action Form of Love.

Have you ever heard the annual Spring warnings about the rivers and streams that come down from the mountain?

Every Spring, the local authorities here in Salt Lake County remind us that as the snowpack melts, the water filters into creeks and rivers that are normally low during the winter. These waterways often border or run through our parks where families are prone to pack a picnic lunch and go play as soon as the sun comes out for good.

To a child, these rivers look fun and adventurous. But the water is frigid and the current is swift. Hefty adults have even had their feet knocked out from under them as soon as the step into the icy water. You can imagine a small child wouldn’t stand a chance.

Now, let’s pretend that you’re somewhere downstream, and you see someone being carried away by the current. What would you do?

Would you walk away, ignoring the cries for help? Would you pretend you didn’t hear the thrashing in the water? Would you jump in or call for professional help?

If I know you, you would do one of the latter two things. You would either call for help or you would do all you could to save them yourself. That’s just the kind of person you are.

You care.

So, for today’s service challenge, I’d like to ask you to think of the people you’re with every day. Your family, your coworkers, fellow students and friends. Do you know any of them who are in danger of falling into a river? Do you know someone who is drowning in extra work, health issues, financial problems or maybe addiction?

Identify them, and then do your best to avoid turning away.

Sometimes we don’t want to get involved. That’s a very natural, human feeling. It may be part of the survival of the fittest idea, or it may be that we’re trained that it’s every man and woman for themselves. Sometimes, we even rationalize our unwillingness to get involved by saying to ourselves, “They did it to themselves. They got into the water, they can get themselves out.”

When you’re tempted to think that, consider this –

What if it was your mother or your brother or daughter. Even if they willingly (though innocently) stepped into the swift current, wouldn’t you help them then? What if you weren’t there and couldn’t help? Wouldn’t you want someone else to step into the water or get professional help for them?

I think you would.

So, today, identify someone who is in over their head and be willing to help them. Whether that means you step in and help on your own, or get professionals to help them, just do it.

I know you can, and I know you will, because – well – that’s just the kind of caring person you are.

Thank you for coming to my blog and reading today. Thank you for being willing to read, act and pass on today’s challenge. I really like that about you.

Always remember, Service is the Action Form of Love.


Monday, April 27, 2009


Welcome to Service – The Action Form of Love.

Here we are on another Monday.

Many of us spend the morning rushing to get ready for school or work or to stay home and take care of the home. We have doctor appointments, haircuts, got to get the kids off to school.

In short, Monday is often our most hectic day of the week.

So, since neither of us has a lot of time to spend here, I’m putting today’s small and simple service challenge right here:

Today, care.

We ask so much from so many. Even our prayers can sound like a pizza delivery order, telling God what we want and need, but not bothering to thank Him for all He’s done. We just place the order, and hang up the phone and… wait.

Today, find someone you ask a lot of. It could be an assistant, it could be someone in your family or religious organization.

Then, when you’ve identified them, shock them.

Ask what you can do for them. Wait for their response. Let them know you’re serious.

And then, of course, help them.

That’s all there is to it!

Please feel free to share this however you can.

Oh, and if there’s something I can do for you, please let me know.

Remember, Service is the Action Form of Love.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Follow Friday

Welcome to Service – The Action Form of Love

If you tweet – that is – if you are a member of the phenomenally popular social media community, Twitter, you probably know today is something called “Follow Friday”.

If you’re not a member of Twitter, Follow Friday is where you recommend one of your followers to the rest of your followers. This is part of the incredible networking aspect of Twitter and can really help people of similar interests find each other.

A typical Follow Friday introduces the person you want to shout out by saying something like, “@username is worth following because she posts great news articles” and then is followed with the hashtag #followfriday.

So, today’s challenge is, as always, small and simple.

While many of us recommend the people with hundreds or thousands of followers, find one or two of your followers who have less – and then recommend them. By doing this, you’re creating a stronger bond and helping out the little guy.

Thanks for reading today’s challenge! Feel free to retweet, stumble, dig and pass on the challenge.

And remember, Service is the Action Form of Love.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Best of Service - The Action Form of Love

It’s Thursday – one more day til we can relax and enjoy the weekend.

I have a lot of new people reading my blog now, so I thought that today, instead of posting a service challenge, I would link to some of my old favorites – a “Best of Service – The Action Form of Love” if you will.

So, without further introduction, here are my favorite five:

Judging (Posted December 1, 2008)

Lambs Don’t Roar (Posted November 19, 2008)

Pro Bono (Posted November 12, 2008)

Doing the Math (Posted October 30, 2008)

I hope you enjoy these favorite five posts –

Please feel free to stumble, retweet, forward or email any of the service challenges.

I appreciate you!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mid Week Service Challenge

Welcome to Service - The Action Form of Love

It’s Wednesday. For many of us, it’s hump day, the middle of the week. We’ve put Monday and Tuesday behind us and have only Thursday and Friday before we can get away from our jobs and spend some quality time with family and friends.

We can look forward to the weekend with the assurance of having an enjoyable time with our loved ones, relax, and recharge our batteries for the next work week.
For others, however, the coming weekend means something entirely different.

For many, the weekend means two days of being alone, with nobody to socialize with. For them, it’s just two empty days full of wishes for friends and family to spend time with.

Can you imagine what that’s like?

I can.

Before I found my lovely wife, I was a real loner. The weekend for me meant taking the train downtown an sitting by myself in a huge booth at the coffee shop. I’d often bring a book to escape from my dull life and vicariously live through the characters of whichever novel I happened to be reading at the time.

Now, I’m the first to admit that sometimes, this sort of weekend would be a dream come true. We have responsibilities to family and faith on the weekends. We have to take care of the home, get the shopping done, and all else that goes into preparing for another week ahead.

But I think if we really took a good look at the weekend-in-café scenario, we’d have to admit that such a break from our responsibilities would get old after awhile. We might truly enjoy taking that break for one weekend, but to be honest, it would get old quickly if we did it week after week after week.

It would especially get boring and dull if our only option was to do that or stay home and stare at the walls or the computer monitor.

Loneliness is such a terrible feeling.

So, here’s today’s challenge:

Find someone who has no close family or friends, get to know them, and invite them to do something with you this weekend.

You might invite them to lunch. You could ask them if they’d like to join you for worship services. You could even get several of you together and go bowling, golfing, or even a picnic in the park.

You’re creative. You know what you like to do. But, be sure and ask for their input, too. The idea here isn’t to force someone into a situation where they’d rather go home and be alone than to spend the day doing something you enjoy but they don’t.

Ask what sports they’re into, what types of movies they like. Try and get them to open up to you and follow their lead.

And, if you don’t have money to spend, there are lots of free or very inexpensive things you can do together.

You can invite them to your home for a Saturday brunch or a Sunday dinner. You can take a drive or ride a train or a walk along a river or beach.

Your options are limited only by your sense of creativity and your common interests.

And, who knows? Maybe you’ll both get along so well that you will want to spend more time with each other.

So, you know the challenge, now go and do.

I so appreciate your willingness to read today’s challenge and, even more so, your willingness to help someone feel wanted, needed, cared for and loved. We all know deep down inside that we would be miserable without a friend.

Go be a friend.

Please feel free to share this with someone else today. Feel free to Stumble it, Digg it, tweet it and post it on your Facebook or MySpace or other networking page. Share this with your Rabbi, your minister your coworker, your sister. Email it to your mom, to your best friend or to your brother.

You’re getting the word out, and people are starting to notice that Service is the Action Form of Love.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sharing Day

Welcome to Tuesday!

Today I’d like to talk about sharing.

Many of us remember in our younger school days a time when we were encouraged to bring some object, person or experience and tell our classmates about them. In my elementary school, this time was called “Show and Tell”. Elsewhere, it’s also known as “Sharing Time”.

As grown-ups, depending on our age and life circumstances, we’ve accumulated experiences, talents and skills that have helped us along the paths we’ve later chosen to take. Nobody’s set of skills is exactly the same as anyone else’s. This makes us a very diverse group of people, and is one reason why one human is not “better” than another human.

I’ve often admired those who can play the violin or piano and share those talents with the world. I’ve never taken music lessons, and so my attempt at performing in an orchestra would only serve to draw unwanted attention to myself. The notes I play would certainly be off-key and very distracting to both the other members of the orchestra and the audience.

But, because I can’t play the violin or piano, does that make me a lesser person than those who can?

Not at all.

It just means I haven’t the talent to play beautiful music like those who have worked so hard to develop their musical talent.

I can and do write – it’s a skill and talent that I’ve worked hard to develop. I have been given a talent, and have worked to grow it. At this point of my life, I can turn abstract ideas into strings of words that make sense.

But again, that doesn’t mean I’m better than someone who cannot write, and certainly I am no better than someone who is struggling as a beginning writer. It just means I have a different talent, or I’ve taken the time to develop the skill.

So it is with you.

You have talents and skills that others around you don’t have. You’re not better than anyone else because of it. You also shouldn’t feel inferior because others have talents and skills you don’t have. It would be a very boring world if we all had the same skills and talents as everyone else.

So, here’s today’s challenge:

Today, seek out someone who wants to learn what you do. Remember, this is all about serving others without fanfare or self-promotion. Just for today, share your talents and skills willingly.

Find someone who wants to learn what you already know and teach them something. It could be a very simple lesson, or it could be more detailed. I’ll leave that up to you.

Are you in a position with your work or avocation where you come into contact with interns or apprentices? Are you a student who “gets it” and knows of someone in your class who doesn’t?

Are you a fantastic cook who knows of someone who seems to burn water but wants to better their cooking skills?

I think you get the idea.

Share what you know.

Be willing to patiently teach someone what you already know and do well.

Don’t do it because you want to further your own aspirations – do it solely because you want to further theirs.

And then, bask in the joy of watching them do something better. Allow yourself to be caught up in the joy of watching them “get it” and improve.

Thank you for letting me share with you. You’ve come back to this blog over and over and over again, and I appreciate that. You’re allowing me the joy of teaching you how to share, how to improve and how to serve others in small and simple ways.

And for that, I appreciate you.

More than you know.

Please feel free to share this with anyone you like. Feel free to Digg this, Stumble it, forward it in an email (please don’t spam others – that’s not sharing – that’s encumbering).

And most of all, remember that Service is the Action Form of Love.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Be There

The other morning, my wife and I were taking a walk and watched as a woman burst out of her apartment, ran to her car, and sped off. She was in her work uniform, so we could only surmise that she was running late for work.

Watching this event prompted some questions and thoughts in my mind.
Could she not get up on time that morning?

Did she not have time to prepare to be where she knew she needed to be when she needed to be there?

And, thinking about all of us, are we willing to only run when we’re late for a boss who pays us and has the power to discipline us and terminate our employment if we’re late?

What about our other relationships? What do we do when we’re running late for a family event, a date, or even just to meet someone we’d told we’d meet? Do we run then, or do we take our time because we know they can’t really “fire” us?

And, what about when someone needs our help?

How fast are we to act when we see a friend, a family member or even a stranger who needs our help? Do we run to help them?

Sometimes, I’m afraid, we’re only willing to run to work so we don’t get docked for tardiness, but we take a less urgent attitude towards others we know or who we know are in trouble.

Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you shouldn’t take a lackadaisical attitude toward your job or toward your boss. Whether on salary or getting paid hourly or even as a consultant, you made a commitment to those who employ you. They certainly deserve your promptness and timeliness. You should be there when you agreed you’d be there. Nothing I say should give you any ideas to the contrary.

So, here’s your challenge for today:

If you’ve made a commitment to be somewhere today at a certain time, be there.

Do all you can to prepare all you need ahead of time so you don’t get caught unprepared at the last minute. Do what you need to do before you need to get out the door.

Also, if you see someone who needs your help, try and treat the situation as you would if they were your boss and you are expected to be on time. Rush to them, assess their needs and help them any way you can.

Helping and serving others sometimes requires our speed and efficiency. It us up to us, those who have the resources to give and to help, to reach out to those who do not.

Can you start today, right now, and make a commitment to all in your circle of friends, family, coworkers and associates to value their time as much as you value your own?

Can you remember today that someone needs your help, and they may need it quickly?

Can you respond to the needs of others with the same sense of urgency that those in need feel about the situation?

I know you can.

I know you will.


Because that’s the kind of person you are. You care about others. You value your time and you are learning to value the time of others.

Thank you so much for reading today’s challenge. I appreciate you, and I really do appreciate the few minutes you take out of your day to come to my blog an learn how to serve others.

Please feel free to share this post. You may Digg it, Stumble it, forward it in an email, retweet it or repost it on your Facebook wall.

You are awesome – you understand that Service is the Action Form of Love.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Service Saturday

Its Saturday and today's challenge really is small and simple.

Log off, get out and spend 30 minutes just helping one person.

It doesn't really matter what you do or who you serve today - but do it.

Thank you, as always, for being willing to read my blog and serving others.

Remember, Service is the Action Form of Love. Pass it on.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Help Me Serve for Oprah

Help me with a great way to serve others - and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

Here’s how it works.

If you can help me get Oprah to reply to me via Twitter, I will donate 100 hours to the cause of her choice, and, I will pick one retweeter and donate 50 hours to the cause of your choice.

Feeling lucky?

Help me!

Just tweet this:

Service! @jwhof will donate 100 service hrs to cause of her choice & 50 hrs for one lucky twit! PLS RT #safol

That’s all there is to it. Help me spread the word that service to others is a cause worthy of our attention.

And remember, Service is the Action Form of Love


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reconnecting Live

I read an eye opening article in USA Today, today.

The article, found here: talked about the impact that social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is having on real live, face-to-face relationships.

One jolting pullout from the article really got me thinking and spawned the idea for today’s challenge.

Here’s the pullout:

For some highly connected people, especially young adults who have grown up with cellphones, their superficial online connections increasingly are their only connections.

And here’s today’s challenge:

Today, find ways to connect with your loved ones. I mean, really connect with them. As in facing them, looking them in the eye. As in turning off twitter, logging off Facebook and Myspace and YouTube.

Talk to them. Embrace them. Interact with them. Listen to them.

Love them.

Relate to them.

Spend time with them. Quality time as well as length of time is really important, especially in this day of short text messages and twitter updates.

Ask them questions. Answer their questions. Break bread with them and shower them with your real personality.

And then, avoid the temptation to run to your favorite site and tell us all about it.

Thanks so much for being willing to read and accept today’s challenge. I appreciate you! I’d love your feedback, but I may not reply for some time.

I’m going to focus on my in-person relationships today.

In the meantime, remember – Service is the Action Form of Love


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Life in the Slow Lane

Welcome to Tuesday!

Many of the service ideas I blog about are from personal experience or from the experiences of those I’m close to – like family members.

Today’s is sort of a hybrid – it comes from my own recent experience as well as from experiences I saw from my dear late mama.

In her later years, mama couldn’t get around very easily. In medical terms, she was barely ambulatory. She required the use of a walker just to get from her bed to the living room and back. Stairs were usually not an option. If you were to be following behind her, you’d notice just how slowly and carefully she had to go just to get to her destination in safety.

Recently, I learned that the source of my tailbone and lower back pain is a bulging disc (between L4 and L5, according to the MRI). Because of this, I have had to slow down quite a bit. I’m not to the point where I need a walker, but I sure don’t move now like I did when I was a teenager! Sometimes, it just hurts to move about.

Why am I telling you this? Because I’ve seen the looks, heard the comments of people who get backed up behind me in public places. From what I see and hear from them, it appears they think I’m just old or that I’m some sort of tourist who would rather dilly dally than get moving and get out of the way.

I try not to let it hurt my feelings, and for the most part, I have thick skin.

But others don’t.

People who are in a hurry often don’t realize their comments or impatient glances are heard or seen. We live in a world where we post everything about our lives and so, I suppose, we think that real-time communication should be accepted as much as a Facebook status update or a Twitter tweet.

Unfortunately, in real life, in face-to-face communication, our words and actions aren’t always taken as a mere update about our lives. Our words and actions can really hurt people’s feelings. Just as troubling, an inadvertent shove to get someone moving faster could cause real and serious pain and injury, too.

So, here’s today’s challenge:

Be patient with someone today.

If you see someone moving too slowly for your tastes, realize there may be a valid reason for it. Be patient, wait for an opportunity to move ahead of them when its safe, and excuse yourself as you pass.

Better yet, if you have an extra moment or two, smile and ask if there’s anything you can do to help them.

Are they carrying something that looks heavy?

Are they struggling with a heavy door?

Why not take a few moments out of your busy day and open it for them? Why not ask if they need help carrying their heavy load?

One of the reasons we’re here on our mortal missions, I believe, is to help one another with the burdens we carry. You have an opportunity to do that today and to make a real and positive difference in the life of someone who is struggling.

Can you do it?

Of course you can.

Will you do it?

I hope you will.

Be patient today.

Be kind always.

Thank you for reading today’s post. As always, I encourage you to share this in whatever manner you can. Feel free to forward it, retweet it, post it on Facebook, Digg it, Stumble it… just get the word out.

You can make a difference my friend.

And, as always, please remember that Service is the Action form of Love.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Odd Man In

Welcome to Thursday.

I’ve been reading some of mama’s old journals, and one or two of them are from when I was a teenager in high school. Thinking back to that time of my life, I can’t believe how much angst I seemed to have. But, now that I have a daughter who is 15, I remember that those feelings of isolation, depression and alienation from the “cool kids” was a very real feeling to me.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to grow out of those feelings and I don’t care nearly as much about what people think of me. Don’t get me wrong, I still have feelings and I love to be included. I think we all feel a little slighted when we’re not included, but for most of us, I think, the feelings aren’t as intense as they might have been when we were teenagers.

Still, no matter how old I get, I still cringe when I see someone at any age being treated as an outsider by those who still think of themselves as the “cool kids”. I really feel for them. Unfortunately, there are some adults who don’t seem to have been able to grow out of the cliquish stage. It’s something we see a lot of, if we just open our eyes and look around.

We see co-workers passing out party invitations to everyone they like, but ignoring others. We see people backbiting and gossiping about the “strange one” behind their back. We see everyone in the group invited out to lunch, except for one or two that just don’t seem to fit in.

This blog post was formulated earlier today when I noticed my wife reach out and start a conversation with someone at work who the rest of us were ignoring. We didn’t know him, he was different from the rest of us, and, well… that’s about all the excuses I’ll offer. We didn’t include him.

But she did.

She asked how he was doing, how he liked his job. She gently and kindly drew him into our conversation without making him feel awkward about it.

For the record, I’ve seen her do this a lot, and she’s really good about it. She has a sensitivity, a radar, if you will, about finding the odd-person-out and including them.

So, here’s your challenge for today (it’s mine, too!):

Be inclusive.

When you see someone who doesn’t exactly fit in to your “crowd”, make your crowd flexible enough to fit the person.

It could be someone who ordinarily annoys you. They may dress differently. They may have a strange accent. They may smoke or talk loudly or… well… you get the idea, don’t you?

Be sensitive to their feelings. If you’re going to do something as a group, see if you can persuade the others in your group to let them come along. Find a reason to like the person, and be kind to them.

That’s all there is to it. It’s not easy. You’ll likely find yourself outside your comfort zone. But, you can do it. I know you can.

Thank you for reading today’s post. I really appreciate you including my blog into your busy day.

Thank you also for being willing to repost, forward, retweet or otherwise passing it on. Kindness begets kindness and it will come back to you in unexpected ways.

Service is the Action Form of Love.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Social Media and Service

Welcome back to my blog!

As you may know, I’m into social media – I have a twitter account, a facebook account and my wife and I met on a social media site in 2003. I love social media! There can be so much good done in the world, and though social media isn’t the only way to accomplish good things, it’s certainly an important component about getting good and positive messages out.

But, like any invention, from the discovery of fire to everything created after that, it can be used to do good or to accomplish evil purposes. Fire can be used to either warm your family or to burn down the neighbor’s home.

I’m sure we’ve all read the news accounts where people with apparently nothing better to do, use their myspace, facebook and other social media pages to trash-talk others. Teenagers are especially prone to this, possibly because this is there technology. Us older folks aren’t immune, however, and we tend to do the same thing from time to time.

So, here’s today’s challenge:

If you have an account on a social media site, find one of your connected friends and send them a positive message. Tell them how much you appreciate them. Remind them of something they’ve recently done that inspired you or helped you or taught you.

If you see something negative posted about someone else, no matter how well-deserved you think that criticism is, simply ignore it. Refuse to comment on it or pass it on.

I know you can do this.

You come to my blog to learn ways to be a better person, to learn how to serve others in small and simple ways. For that, I greatly appreciate you, and I encourage you to continue using social media for good.

Thanks for reading today! Feel free to pass this on, to forward it, to retweet it and to repost it wherever you like.

And remember, Service is the Action Form of Love.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Catching Flies with Honey

Welcome to Monday!

Many of us have something in common. As children, we’ve heard our mother, grandmother or other relative tell us that if we can’t say something nice, we shouldn’t say anything at all.

In addition to other, less helpful advice my elders gave me (one of them was, “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar”, though for the life of me I can’t figure out what that was all about), the idea that I shouldn’t say anything unkind was something I heard on at least a weekly basis.

For today’s challenge, I’d like to take that a step further.

Instead of simply focusing on what we say to others, today, I’d like you to focus on thinking before responding to someone who expresses an idea you don’t like.
We live in a world where opinions vary. What’s more, for better or worse, we also are prone to hear the opinions of others, wherever we are. We hear about them at school, at work, on public transportation, and even in our worship services.

As we know, the opinions of others don’t always match the opinions we hold dear. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone express their opinion and then heard a follow-up comment from someone else like, “Oh, that’s stupid!” or “Are you crazy? You can’t really believe that!”

Comments such as those don’t really do much to change ideas or feelings. If anything, they serve more to invite a feeling of defensiveness. Arguments often ensue and before long, the situation has gone from an open exchange of ideas to a shouting match where feelings get hurt.

So, just for today, I’d like to challenge you to think before you verbally react when you hear an idea or opinion that differs from your own. Before opening your mouth, open your mind and your heart.

Ask yourself if what you are about to say will invite open and honest discussion or divisiveness and argument. Ask if it will damage your relationship with the person, or if it will enhance it.

There is a quote that has been attributed to many that says:
“It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

How fitting in today’s world where insults are thrown and mud is hurled every time someone wants to simply express their feelings or opinions.

So, today, think before you speak. Try to respond with kindness and thoughtfulness when responding to an idea you don’t like.

You don’t have to agree with everyone – for that would make a very boring world, indeed. But at least be kind. Treat the speaker with the respect and civility you would want to be treated with.

You can do this. It’s not easy, but I know you can do it.
Thank you for taking today’s challenge. I appreciate you. You may not agree with me, but that’s okay. Your feelings, idea and opinions are still valid and valued.

And, in my opinion, Service is the Action Form of Love.